4 Steps to Enjoy Tasting Sake to the Fullest


4 Steps to Enjoy Tasting Sake to the Fullest

Have you ever gone to a bar and compared sake drinks, but still couldn’t quite tell what the difference was?

In this article, we will show you how to enjoy sake tasting in four easy steps, even if you are a beginner when it comes to sake.

Enjoy Sake by Color

We understand that you want to drink sake as soon as it is poured, but first take a peek at the sake tasting cup from above. By looking at the white part of the sake cup, you can tell how clear the sake is.

If it is aged sake or sake made in the Yamahai style, it may look a little yellowish.

You can tell how cloudy the sake is by looking at the blue serpentine eyes on the boar’s mouth.

Nigori sake or unfiltered sake will appear pale white.

Of course, even if you are not using an inokuchi, you can enjoy sake by looking at the color of the sake in a wine glass or a colored inokuchi to see what kind of sake it is.

Enjoying Sake by its Aroma

After looking at the color, wait a little longer before sipping. Next, enjoy the sake by its aroma.

Tilt the sake cup slightly and bring it up to your nose to smell the good aroma of the sake.

The ginjo-style sake has a gorgeous aroma like fruits and flowers, while the junmai-style sake has the aroma of rice itself. Try to find various other aromas with your nose, such as the aromas of dairy products and spices.

By confirming the unique aroma of the sake, you will be excited to find out what kind of sake it tastes like.

Enjoying Sake by Taste

Now, actually taste the sake. You will feel the “sweetness,” “acidity,” “umami,” and “bitterness” of the sake spreading throughout your mouth.

For example, sweetness is like freshly cooked white rice or fruit. Sourness is like citrus fruits or dairy products. Umami is the taste derived from rice. Bitterness is like coffee or lemon peel. The taste of sake can be compared to any food or plant.

In addition, rolling the sake a little on the tongue will expand its characteristics even more, so try that as one technique.

In some cases, the flavor can be imagined from the aroma, while in others, the taste can be recognized only after you have sipped it.

Enjoying Sake in the Aftertaste

Last but not least, we must not forget about the aftertaste of sake.

Try to feel whether the taste of the sake you swallowed still remains in your mouth or whether it disappeared immediately.

If the sweetness or umami of the sake still remains, it can be described as having a long aftertaste.

Conversely, if there is a pungent taste in the aftertaste or if it disappears quickly, it can be described as a clear and crisp sake.

By knowing the aftertaste, you can make the best pairing with the food you eat.


What we have introduced here are four simple steps that even sake beginners can enjoy sake tasting.

Enjoy with your eyes, enjoy with the aroma, enjoy with the taste, and enjoy with the aftertaste.

We hope that by simply trying these steps, you will be able to discover even more charms of sake that you have never noticed before.

When Visiting Fushimi Kyoto, Don’t Miss Our Sake Tasting Tour!

When visiting Kyoto, you can’t miss a sake tour of Fushimi – so why not join us on a hunt for the area’s best sake, and best combination with food pairing session and find your favourite along the way?

sake tasting

Visiting a bar or sake shop and don’t know which sake to buy or taste? Join our Sake Tasting and Pairing Experience!

In this experience, you will learn all the basics about sake and be able to compare different types of sake to find the differences and get to discover how to truly enjoy sake. Joining our sake tasting tour is surely a great introduction to your sake experience. Discover Japan’s real sake & food culture and traditions!

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Who wrote this article?

We are the only sake tour company based in Kyoto Fushimi Sake Capital.

Good and strong relationship with local breweries and insiders allow us to provide you deeper sake experience.
Our guides are International Kikisake-shi, specialists of sake who can show how to enjoy sake according to personal preference, market condition, culture, and tradition. For any inquiries, please contact us :)